Volkswagen Passat Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Here's what I'm looking at buying? Aside from the struts themselves, are all the other components listed below necessary and are there any other brands I should consider? Also, supposedly the Bilstein struts below are made to work on sport suspension or standard, but I'm curious as to how to tell which suspension I have.

1. 2 each - Bilstein 19-119939 Twintube Shock Absorber, Front, $66 each
2. 2 each - Moog K90460 Front Strut Bellow and Bumper Kit - or - Raybestos 556-1108 Professional Grade Suspension Strut Bellow
3. 2 each - Moog K90412 Macpherson Strut Mount Assembly

Also, the above Bilstein strut listing shows it having some kind of shiny metallic disk with it...Anybody know what that is?

I can get all this for right at $200, combining Amazon and Rockauto.com for all 3. Money is an object since I just spent $900 on it 2 weeks ago in an out-of-town, no-start situation.

Ebay doesn't really show any better pricing, if not at all. Plus ebay shows kits with these Bilsteins, but none of the kits show having both items 2 & 3 above, which is kind of confusing me.

Thanks!
 

·
I had a steering knuckle in my shed. Really!
Joined
·
4,164 Posts
The shock and shock mount are required; the bump stop may be fine to reuse (but is cheap enough).

The twin-tube Bilstiens are not the best. In fact, they are pretty bad for the A-chassis cars. So I'd look at something else. Koni Yellows or Bilstien Sports/HDs are great choices but expensive. The Koni STR.Ts seem good for cheaper shocks, but I don't have extensive experience with them.

You have standard suspension; the 1BE was never offered on the VW B5 in North America. This is assuming your car is stock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I forgot to mention that the car has 152k miles on it & has the original struts on the front. We bought it with 117k miles on it, so I don't know what it felt like when it had new shocks/struts, so I'm kind of just assuming that it's time for new front struts...with these modern suspensions & coil over struts, it's hard to determine (the push-down method doesn't work any more). About 3 months ago I replaced the rear shocks with the KYB 343281 GR-2/Excel-G...the old shocks ruined a good pair of tires with cupping. I have a full new set of tires ready to put on, and I just replaced the right-front outer tie rod end, so it needs an alignment. I'm thinking I should go ahead and replace the front shocks before getting the new tires and the alignment done.

I was planning to put KYBs on the front, too, but then I read an older thread on here in which a trusted PW member insisted the KYBs were way too harsh/firm. He basically concluded the thread saying the twin-tube Bilsteins were the way to go for an OEM ride quality. I'm also wondering what's so wrong with Monroe OESpectrums? I've put them on my '97 Honda Accord that I drive to work daily and they're fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,815 Posts
^Oh, it's time trust me. Struts/shocks tend to wear (have a shelf life) with age only. My '04 Passat 1.8Tm only has ~91K and needs both struts and shocks. (they're ~12 yrs old).

As for a front-end alignment, do a bit of research before paying $60 for something you may not need. Look for subframe alignment holes (vertically oriented) in the lower front corners of the engine compartment. Use a deep-well socket inside the hole(s) to check subframe alignment relative to the unibody. Fixing an out-of-spec camber condition on one side of the car is handled by removing four subframe stretch (torque-to-yield) bolts and replacing them before moving the subframe towards the center of car to equalize camber (slightly negative) between both front wheels.

That cupping you saw on the inside edge of one of your rear tires was due to either a bent trailing axle arm or a bent "stub bearing" axle. You'll see that cupping come back in 15-20K unless you rotate tires every 5K.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
As for a front-end alignment, do a bit of research before paying $60 for something you may not need. Look for subframe alignment holes (vertically oriented) in the lower front corners of the engine compartment. Use a deep-well socket inside the hole(s) to check subframe alignment relative to the unibody. Fixing an out-of-spec camber condition on one side of the car is handled by removing four subframe stretch (torque-to-yield) bolts and replacing them before moving the subframe towards the center of car to equalize camber (slightly negative) between both front wheels.

That cupping you saw on the inside edge of one of your rear tires was due to either a bent trailing axle arm or a bent "stub bearing" axle. You'll see that cupping come back in 15-20K unless you rotate tires every 5K.
The cupping on the inside edge occurred on both rear tires, not just one of them. The main reason I'm getting the alignment checked is because I just replaced a bad outer tie rod end and since I'm about to put new tires on it. Since I figure the struts are past due, wouldn't you think it's ideal to replace them before the alignment?

As far as the two possibly bent items you're referring to, can you elaborate on what would cause either one? ... what to look for? I think I remember replacing the trailing axle arm when I replaced all the front control arms, but I'm not 100% sure... it may have been on an SUV I no longer have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,815 Posts
Both of the front struts can be replaced without touching the subframe (to equalize camber between both front wheels). So the front-end alignment (for toe only) can be completed independent of the front strut work, but alignment should be done before tires go on as you said. The front end will still "porpoise" over shallow bumps though (like mine) until the front struts are swapped.

The bent trailing axle arm (on my car) that I refer to is the portion of the rear axle beam that is tubular. If your rear wheel/tire accidentally "kisses" a curb in the direction of travel (say while you're turning a corner), these can bend. A four-wheel alignment check on a Hunter machine (not something I'd normally have done; until the tire became cupped) is how I discovered this. Can't determine this with the naked eye unless it's severe.
 

·
I had a steering knuckle in my shed. Really!
Joined
·
4,164 Posts
KYB shocks are very firm for a year or so, and then they shit the bed. Totally not worth it. No idea on the Monroes; they are a decent brand.

You can test for bad shocks with the bounce test; location of the spring has nothing to do with it. And (as an aside) on a B5 Passat, they are shocks at all 4 corners. Not struts, like those found on A-chassis VWs.

No alignment needed when replacing the front shocks. Sounds like you need an alignment at the rear, though, with the cupping. So a full 4-wheel aligment is called for here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I really appreciate the replies, everyone.

But, now another question or two has come up. I checked out blauparts.com, but it appears they don't sell just a pair of front struts for my sedan, only a full set of shocks & struts. However, they do show just a pair of front struts available for a Passat wagon. But, Rockauto appears to indicate that all front struts they sell for the 2003 1.8L Passats fit both the sedans and wagons (the SACHS 556277 description even says it fits both).

Also, I'm starting to wonder if the Bilsteins I indicated in my original post above will really fit my stock Passat. I have a discount coming from Advance Auto Parts and their site shows two different Bilstein B4 Touring Class struts for my car, one for sport suspension and one for standard suspension... unfortunately neither of their part numbers remotely match 19-119939, which is what I listed above.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
KYB shocks are very firm for a year or so, and then they shit the bed. Totally not worth it. No idea on the Monroes; they are a decent brand.

You can test for bad shocks with the bounce test; location of the spring has nothing to do with it. And (as an aside) on a B5 Passat, they are shocks at all 4 corners. Not struts, like those found on A-chassis VWs.

No alignment needed when replacing the front shocks. Sounds like you need an alignment at the rear, though, with the cupping. So a full 4-wheel aligment is called for here.
Rockauto calls the rears shocks and the fronts struts, which IMO is correct. Also, the cupping comes from bad rear shocks that don't dampen, so they just bounce and cause the tires to hop, especially where there's not much weight, such as the back of the car. That's my understanding anyway. I believe the front tires don't cup because of the weight of the engine and the spring.
 

·
I had a steering knuckle in my shed. Really!
Joined
·
4,164 Posts
The front shock on a B5 has nothing to do with the steering or alignment of the car; therefore, it's not a strut.

Many auto parts vendors call the kombi valve an EGR valve. Doesn't make it one.

But this isn't really relevant.

Your odd tire wear in the rear may well actually be diagonal swipe or feathering, both alignment-related tire wear patterns that resemble cupping. Turning a two-wheel alignment into a four-wheel job won't cost much at all, and you will get valuable data.

I have no idea what you mean that there's a spring in the front that prevents cupping of tires that doesn't exist in the rear. Of course all four wheels have springs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I did the bounce test on the front last night and it seems to pass… recovers pretty quickly. With the plastic bumpers and aerodynamics, I had to lift from under the bumper to get it bouncing…suspension is very stiff.

I find it hard to believe the front shocks would still be good on this car, so either 1) the bounce test is not valid on this car (as I’ve heard about newer suspensions), 2) a previous owner already put VW front shocks on it, or 3) could it be something like weak, compressed springs masking the bounce test somehow?

When hitting a pothole or a short quick bump (like a mini speed bump), you can hear & feel it shock the chassis. The coins in the ashtray and cup holder jump.
This car currently acts like it has a limp at a very slow speed, and the steering wiggles the faster you go and the steering wheel jumps when recovering from turn. But, I believe much of this is because of a bad belt in the right front tire and needing the alignment after the new tie rod end, so I think I’ll go ahead and get the 4-wheel alignment and get the tires put on and see if these symptoms go away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,815 Posts
You should also check out www.germanautoparts.com; as they sell front struts/rear shocks in pairs.

This car currently acts like it has a limp at a very slow speed, and the steering wiggles the faster you go and the steering wheel jumps when recovering from turn...
Regarding those tire belt bulges, I've had several Michelins (Pilot SX mostly, but also MXV) have the belt-edge separation issue - they were all H-rated though. It seems to completely avoid this, you need to buy V-rated tires :crazy: these days due to tire companies taking more and more out of what used to go into tires ~15-20 yrs ago (I used to work for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.).

I buy Conti's these days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I'm giving the H-rated Yokohama Avid Ascend tire a try this time. They get good reviews, plus I got them from Discounttiredirect.com for about $54 a tire after all the rebates that were available last month. I also noticed they say Made In USA, which surprised me, having the Asian sounding name and all. My daughter's (it's her daily driver) at the shop having them put on and the 4-wheel alignment as I type this.

The 4 tires being replaced are the T-rated Hankook Optimo H727 that I had put on right after replacing all the front CAs and a 4-wheel alignment. They've got about 30k miles on them now. I was impressed at first...they were as smooth and quiet as any Michelin I'd ever had. I've read where cheap tires are more apt to cup, but I was willing to give them a pass considering the rear shocks might have been the culprit for the cupping in the back, but I was getting them rotated at 5k mile intervals. I ended up having to leave the cupped tires on the back because the noise from the cupping was much worse when I moved them to the front. Except for the cupping, the back tires look almost brand new but the front ones not so much. But, the belt separation really sours me now on Hankook.

As far as the front shocks, I did check germanautoparts but they were more than what I'm willing to pay right now. I called Blauparts, and they do have just a set for the front (MGS1005-2F-B) for $140... for some reason their web site didn't show it. I think I'll go with them if I do end up getting some. I'll wait and see how it rides after she gets back.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top